Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig (Courtesy MLB.com)
Under pressure from China, Major League Baseball is forcing Taiwan to compete in the upcoming World Baseball Classic under the name “Chinese Taipei” and to not display the island nation’s flag or have its anthem played.
Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo – a member of the House International Relations Committee – has written a letter of complaint to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, asking that Taiwan be given “fair treatment.”
The inaugural tournament, March 3-20, includes teams from 16 nations. All but two have players under contract to Major League Baseball teams.
Tancredo said he was “saddened” to see that Taiwan is the only participant whose flag is not posted on the World Baseball Classic website. In its place is the Olympic banner.
For more than 20 years, he pointed out, pressure from the communist People’s Republic of China has forced athletes from the Republic of China, or Taiwan, to compete under the “Chinese Taipei” moniker in the Olympic Games “even though Taiwan is not subject to the control of the unelected government in Beijing.”
Barring Taiwan from playing its national anthem and displaying its flag when its athletes win medals even had been extended to spectators in some cases, the congressman noted.
“Such restrictions seem particularly ridiculous when one contrasts the treatment of Taiwan with the treatment of Puerto Rico,” Tancredo wrote Selig. “Puerto Rico’s status as a U.S. territory is not in dispute – yet their athletes have never been forced to use the name ‘American San Juan’ or compete under an alternative flag. So why is independent Taiwan subjected to these arbitrary requirements?”
Major League Baseball and the World Baseball Classic should not follow the example of the International Olympic Committee by acting as an “accomplice in communist China’s illogical and obsessive effort to restrict the freedom and insult the dignity of the 23 million people who live in Taiwan,” Tancredo said.